Djokovic faces tough first round as history beckons

Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:02am EST
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic takes his first steps towards entering the history books on Monday and the two-time defending Australian Open champion is taking nothing for granted in his first round clash.

The world number one, bidding to become the first man in the professional era to win three successive Australian Open titles, meets France's Paul-Henri Mathieu in the final game of the day session on Rod Laver Arena.

"There is no underestimating him, that's for sure," the Serb said of the 31-year-old right hander, who has won four titles on the ATP Tour.

"Maybe he's lower ranked at this moment but he was a top-20 player. He knows how it feels to play on a big stage."

Mathieu was ranked as high as 12th in the world five years ago but needed surgery on his left knee and missed all of 2011.

He entered 2012 as an unranked player and finished 59th in the world, advancing more than 1,500 places in the rankings and Djokovic was preparing for a battle.

"You just try to take one match at a time, focus on your next opponent, your next challenge," the 25-year-old added.

"I'm going to try to focus from the start."   Continued...

 
Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves during a practice session at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 13, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray